3 found dead in vacant building fire in Charlottetown
Police officer discovers fire and tries to save those inside, but forced back by smoke and flames
Autopsies will be performed Sunday on the three people found dead inside a vacant building that caught fire Saturday morning on Mount Edward Road in Charlottetown.
"I cannot remember a tragedy with three people, of any kind really, in the city of Charlottetown in my memory," Charlottetown police Deputy Chief Gary McGuigan told CBC News.
A police officer on patrol spotted the fire and an injured male around 5:30 a.m., according to Charlottetown police. The man told the officer there were more people inside the building at 207 Mount Edward Rd.
The officer tried to get in, but was pushed back by intense smoke and fire, according McGuigan. Firefighters discovered the three bodies.
"The fire in itself was not a major fire," he said. "The tragedy is the people that were inside the building."
The injured person was airlifted to hospital in Halifax. Police will only say he is a "young male," and they haven't been able to speak with him yet.
McGuigan said they are still trying to identify the three dead and hope to have more information on Sunday.
Neighbours woke up to the sound of sirens Saturday morning and looked out to see the building on fire.
"It was just a small amount of flames," said Reggie Jameson, who lives across the road. "And then, give it about two more minutes, and the place was fully engulfed and the flames were roughly 20, 30 feet high at one point there."
Nearby residents say the building has been vacant for several years and is sometimes a hangout for teenagers.
"I’ve seen teens in and out of it, especially in the summertime," said Greg Aitken.
"It seems to be pretty quiet with the amount of snow that we’ve had here recently. We haven't seen tracks or anything along those lines in and out of the building."
The building is located on land once occupied by a driving range and used car sales company. The land backs onto the Charlottetown Mall and is slated to be redeveloped into a seniors complex, according to George Wright, who lives beside the property.
He said there's been vandalism at the building and windows were boarded up in the fall after they were smashed.
"It’s a tragedy and that’s all there is to it," Wright said of the fire.
The Island's coroner's office will identify the dead and the fire department is investigating how and where the blaze started. Police remain on scene.